TWO inspirational Inverclyde teenagers and a local primary school are in the running for accolades at the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) Star Awards.

Jason McIlroy and Jonathan Marshall are both finalists in the Young Person of the Year category, which celebrates the achievements of individuals working towards SQA qualifications.

Inverclyde Academy pupil Jason, 17, was in danger of dropping out of school but turned things around through a placement at Belville Community Garden and is now a positive role model for other pupils.

Jason was nominated by community learning and development youth worker Paul Ross.

He said: “I have seen Jason change his perspective on life over the last six years and I wanted him and others to recognise all he has achieved."

Jason said: “I wasn’t going to school and when I did I wasn’t paying attention. I am now studying for my national five qualifications and on placement at Belville. It is nice to be recognised and I am looking forward to the awards.”

Joining Jason on the shortlist is Jonathan Marshall, who is also up for School Candidate of the Year after being nominated by business teacher Lynn MacMillan

The 17-year-old has overcome a rare disease and disability to excel, also achieving the Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, taking part in school shows and singing in Inverclyde Youth Choir.

She said: “I saw the email come in about the awards and knew straight away I wanted to nominate Jonathan and the whole school backed me.

"He is my inspiration and an inspiration to many.”

Jonathan said: “It’s humbling to be nominated, I didn’t expect it and its lovely to know that the teachers noticed me and thought I deserved it. I am looking forward to hearing about the other finalists.”

Also amongst the finalists will be King's Oak Primary, for their pioneering partnership with Inverclyde Academy and the local community learning and development team.

They offered P7 pupils the chance to undertake personal achievement and volunteering skills SQA awards and almost all pupils completed at least one.

Dehra Macdonald, senior family learning support worker, said: “We wanted the pupils to go to high school with a better understanding of who the SQA are and what they can achieve. Having undertaken a qualification and getting their certificate will make the experience less daunting.

“To be shortlisted is amazing, it almost doesn’t matter about the outcome, its brilliant for the pupils, staff and families at the school and we are delighted.”

All the Inverclyde finalists have been invited to a ceremony at Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on Friday.

SQA chief executive, Dr Janet Brown, said: “The quality of the nominations for this year’s awards has been outstanding.

“I congratulate all the finalists on making it this far and I wish them the very best of luck on the night.”